Michelle Obama's confession that she hadn't really been proud of her country in the past twenty five years or so before they started uniting behind her stinky snore-y husband made me think this morning: when was the last time I felt proud of this place? Well duh, I thought: no one ever thinks they love FREEDOM until they try to hang out in some of those other places we pointed missiles during the Cold War! (Oh yeah, and Castro resigned!) And that reminded me of this part in the Audacity of Hope where Michelle comes back from Kenya and she says to Barack: "Man, I never realized how much I actually don't hate America!" (Condi can sooooo relate!) And then you get back home and Hillary Clinton's campaign is trying to steal your husband's pledged delegates and you're like, "Ha ha ha, just kidding; democracy is a myth fuck you." Patriotism, Pakistan and (UGH) plagiarism with me and Megan after the jump.
MEGAN: Happy Tuesday!
MEGAN: Well, I think we're both much less hungover than we were yesterday.
MOE: Yeah, but that doesn't mean I have anything remotely intelligent to say. The Dane Cook of inspiring people is about it. Ha ha ha and I just plagiarized myself. Also Pakistan is not voting Musharraf back in, but I don't really know what that means other than "so yeah if that was the intention of those guys who made that rogue sunroof kill Bhutto the terrorists won!" And then also oh yes Fidel Castro resigned. But like I read that on Perez months ago!
MEGAN: Perez is so prescient. A really old guymight not being able to run the country forever? Who woulda thunk.
And, yeah, it's hard to understand why al Qaeda thought it would be a good idea politicall to assassinate Bhutto (who wanted to eliminate them) other than maybe they figured they could bribe her briberiffic husband? Or they thought maybe Uncle Pervy was going to get away with putting off elections, like, forever? Or, you know, maybe crazy homicidal megalomaniacs who think they should run the world don't really have good motives?
It's so hard to understand all that.
MOE: Oh look! Speaking of megawhatevers there's a fun slideshow on the WSJ website to take you through memory lane with Cuba-US relations. The Bay of Pigs pix are kinda fun. And United Fruit...remember that racket? Good times. Anyway so as you can understand the challenge for any communist country these days is how to be more like China and less like Russia...blah blah do we have any good dirt on Raul?
MEGAN: He's also really old.
MOE: Oh, that's okay, as long as he abstains from smoking and keeps his weight under control he can live into those great golden John McCain's mom years right!
MEGAN: Wow, what great research! Being healthy means not dying sooner!
Raul looks like he smokes to me, though.
MOE: Yeah I was thinking the same thing. It's probably like treason in Cuba if you don't smoke. They send you to Guantanamo!
MEGAN: Do you think they make everyone drink mojitos, too? I could weirdly stand to have a mojito right now.
MOE: Nah man all I want mornings like this is uppers. So here, readers, is your primer to Raul. On the menschness scale he seems just this side of Li Peng. But maybe he'll fix the economy! Because after all, exporting tainted blood thinners is better than exporting... nothing at all! (;-) exiles!)
MEGAN: That's, like, totally the old Chinese slogan!
MOE: Okay should we talk about the ELEPHANT/DONKEY/WHATEV in the room which is to say the Obamas keep fucking up? Barry stole a whole like 20 words from Deval Patrick and then Michelle Obama said it was the first time in her adult life she'd been proud of her country. Now: that is kind of self-aggrandizing but is it true? Mickey Kaus says even Dennis Kucinich could find something to be proud of but um he is also deep in beautiful love!
Have you ever been proud of your country?
It's a weird question, bc you're thinking, "the whoooole country"?
I was kind of proud of my state when it ousted that dead baby senator by 20 points. But it's not like that was a very difficult decision for anyone to make.
MEGAN: I don't know that I've ever really been proud of "the country." That's such a vague concept to me. My initial reaction is, frankly, no. But I've never been one for group identity, anyway. And it seems like it would have to be on the whole, and do I feel like, on the whole, our actions are worthy of group-think pride and I'm not sure that if I look at the 30 years I've been an American that the balance tips in its favor.
But I'm a pessimist and a cynic. I don't think I'd be "proud" of any country. A country isn't an entity, it's a social construct.
And, on the plagiarism charges, if you look at the definition, it's the unauthorized use of someone else's work. By all accounts, Deval Patrick told Obama to do it. I think it was stupid of Deval Patrick to do it and stupid/lazy of Obama's advisers to let him do it, but it's not "plagiarism."
MOE: Yeah and what does usually result from a large nationalism-fueled group of people hoping to take part in something bigger than themselves and make their heirs proud etc. etc. it's like "um wars."
MEGAN: Yes. That's sort of my problem with national pride, I think. I minored in German history, so it makes me even more uncomfortable.
MOE: Well the insane thing about the plagiarism thing is that the Clinton camp is basically saying, it would be completely different if Hillary lifted a line or two from someone's speech because no one is accusing her of running on her rhetoric." And you're like "Um bc Hillary Clinton is not running against Hillary Clinton?" It's so mindbogglingly circular. But yeah Michelle's statement is going to get linked back with the whole flag pingate and he's in trouble.
MEGAN: Flag pins are just ticky-tacky. Period.
I mean, it just seems like one of those super insidery things that hardly anyone is going to care about in 3 days and if Obama had done it on Wednesday last week it wouldn't be an issue in Wisconsin. But, because he did it on Saturday and it was widely reported yesterday, it's going to hurt him in Wisconsin, I think. It's brilliant on the part of Clinton's campaign, even if I disagree with the word choice.
And even if I roll my eyes at both of them. Because I've seen Obama's version and Patrick's version and I didn't love it the first time and thought it was ineffective the second.
MOE: It's so completely mindbogglingly retarded this scandal though!
MEGAN: You don't campaign on the scandals you want, you campaign on the scandals you get?
MOE: This is the Clinton campaign, guys! BECAUSE THEY ARE SOOOOO SUBSTANTIAL.
MEGAN: I mean, I think it's clear that she can't win on being Obama-y positive in public no matter what because it's not believable to too many people and because it's not her voice.
And I think (and have read in the comments here before) that people actually want to see her play rough and go negative because they see that as how Dems will defeat the Republicans in November.
MOE: The proud of my country thing is a lot more troubling. Because while its not easy to find a whole lot that fits that description completely, there have surely been a lot of individual acts of heroism and compassion fueled in part by patriotism; and surely it is a big insult to anyone who has committed one of those acts in the past 20 years (like say for example, John McCain's son in Iraq; any kid who's done Teach For America; etc.) ...That said, domestic politics has, in that time, fallen into a predictable paradigm of zeroing in on people's fears and prejudices and Obama transcends that in a way that is surprising to most cynics like us, and that's exactly what his haters so hate about his campaign but I think also what people like me find compelling about it — because it's like, hey, pleasant surprise! So anyway I understand the sentiment but it betrays an arrogance and a cynicism that is going to be damaging. Hell, Obama himself wrote that he was proud of our country when the Berlin Wall fell! I personally hope she answers this one because I think she could do a decent job.
MEGAN: I agree that Michelle Obama's statements are more damaging in the long term than Words-gate.
MOE: Or anyway, they ought to be. On the other hand, I mean, a lot of it is, I think, just the fact that she speaks extemporaneously. Which is sort of ironic given her husband's PLAGIARISM scandal! But you know, her whole bit from Day 1 was like "What is this? He's just a man. Not the freaking Prophet Messiah!" And now she's like "hey, you know, the way people are reacting so passionately to his campaign is inspiring! And when's the last time I was inspired? Hey, never!"
MEGAN: Inspiration is good. I wish I had some at this very moment.